World Cup draws new fan base to cheer on Team USA

CARMEL, Ind.  (WISH) – The excitement of the World Cup has everyone from the casual fan to the die-hards banding together to cheer on Team USA.

In a country where other sports reign supreme, the most popular game around the world is stealing the spotlight.

“It’s a lot bigger turnout than what I saw four years ago,” said Ryan Second as he described the crowd at Union Jack, a bar in Broad Ripple.

“It’s nice to see a whole bunch of people that we don’t usually see coming out to watch the U.S. with us, said Peter Evans, member of Indy 11′s fan group named Brickyard Battalion.

Bars like Union Jack are known for packing people in to enjoy a match, but fans in Carmel needed a little more room.

“I didn’t realize Carmel had this many fans to be perfectly honest,” joked Colleen Rose.  “I kind of thought it’d be a few people like watching a flat screen or something,” said Charlene Cummings.

It was flat alright, but also 9 by 12 feet.  The City of Carmel partnered with Brighthouse Network to show the match in a park near the Monon Trail off Main Street.  The screen was just the right size for more than 300 people to ride the emotional roller coaster that peaked with excitement all the way down to disappointment.

“We saw it happen over in Chicago and New York,” said Melanie Lentz, Community Relations with the City of Carmel.  “And so we thought we need this here and what better place than right here on Main Street on the Monon here in Carmel.”  Lentz said the event was put together in only three days.  “Luckily it’s a cool event that everybody’s behind and excited about so it didn’t take long,” she said.

“I’m glad that I can watch the game with other people who love soccer,” said Cummings.

Tim Regan, an assistant coach for the Indy 11 soccer team, was at the watch party in Carmel.  He said days like today are proof that soccer’s popularity, and the patriotism behind it, is at an all-time high.

“You can go from2002 when we beat Portugal in the opener and I’m not sure how may people would have known.  If it happens tonight, a lot of people will know.” he said.  ” That’s the kind of progress that the game has made and around here it’s just unbelievable growth in Indiana.”

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